Thames cable car won’t solve East London transport needs, Assembly warned

The proposed cable car over the Thames won’t solve East London’s cross-river transport needs, the London Assembly’s budget chairman warned today.

John Biggs, who represents East London on the Assembly, criticized Mayor Boris Johnson’s delay for a new crossing east of the A12 Blackwall Tunnel.

The cable car linking Excel in the Royal Docks on the north side and the O2 Arena on the Greenwich Peninsular on the south side he believes would not fill the gap.

“It is an attractive scheme and will make an impact,” Biggs said.

“But it is mainly for tourists and is not a serious transport project.”

The taxpayer may be stuck with �57 million for building it, members heard at Mayor’s Question Time today, when the mayor admitted he could not guarantee private investment meeting the cost.

“The same Mayor has delayed by another year the work he promised on a road crossing,” added Biggs.

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“I’m sure many Eastenders will enjoy the cable car and it will improve connections.

“But it doesn’t seriously meet the demand for river crossings.

“We urgently need a new bridge or tunnel to complement the DLR rail link recently opened.”

Boris Johnson said in a statement last July that the aim was to “fund the cable car entirely from private finance.”

But he told today’s Question Time that “the taxpayer needs to ‘pump prime’ the project” to bring in private capital.

TfL has already spent almost �3m on it and is budgeting another �54m in the next two years if no offers come forward.